Worldvision Enterprises

This article is about the media company. For the charitable organization that is not affiliated with the media company, see World Vision International.
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc.
Industry Television syndication
Home video distributor
Fate Folded into Paramount Domestic Television
Successor Paramount Domestic Television (1999–2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
Founded March 27, 1954 (1954-03-27) (as ABC Film Syndication)
Defunct 1999
Headquarters United States
Area served

Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. was a television program distributor established in July 1953 as ABC Film Syndication, the domestic and overseas program distribution arm of the ABC Television Network. They primarily licensed programs from independent producers, rather than producing their own content.


ABC Films Syndication

On March 27, 1954, American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc. created the ABC Films Syndication, Inc. (AFS), a subsidiary headed by George Shupert, which specialized in syndication and in-house program production.[1] By January 1956, AFS formed a 50/50 joint venture production company, Rabco Productions, with Hal Roach, Jr..[2][3]

In January 1956, AFS president announced an expansion in production and sales staff for the year. Five new properties were acquired by the company with all receive pilots with two set for syndication if not placed nationally. Two were to be produced by John Gibbs and Meridian Pictures, "Renfrew of the Mounted" and "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" while Rabco's Bernard Fox was assigned "Forest Ranger". The two pilots set for production were "The Americano" by Martin Gosch and filmed in Spain and "The Force" produced by Victor Stoloff about the plain clothed Canadian Mounties division. Two shows, Code 3 and The Three Musketeers were already under production for syndication.[2]

In 1959, ABC International created Worldvision Enterprises to syndicate programs to overseas markets. Henry G. Plitt, previously Paramount Gulf Theatres president, became president of the company in February 1959 to replace Shupert after he left for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[4] Kevin O’Sullivan later became president of the company.[5]

Worldvision Enterprises

In 1971, the FCC barred the participation of networks in the syndication of their own programs. Worldvision Enterprises was formed by five former ABC Films executives to purchase the network's syndication assets[6] in 1973.[5]

Their home video division released numerous Hanna-Barbera titles and Jack Nicklaus' Golf My Way instructional video series.[7] They were also responsible for the television distribution of a majority of the Carolco Pictures feature film library (inherited from Orbis Communications, which was a division of Carolco before the studio went bankrupt).

Worldvision has been owned by many companies over the years. The growth of its home video division was primarily under the ownership of Taft Broadcasting, which acquired the company in 1979.[5] In October 1987, Taft's assets including Worldvision was acquired by Great American Communications.[8]

Television producer Aaron Spelling, attempting to find an outlet to distribute his programs, attempted to buy Worldvision from Great American, but chief company shareholder Carl H. Lindner told Spelling that he was not interested in selling the company.[9] Lindner did agree to sell Worldvision to Spelling Productions for 50% of Spelling, Inc., the combined company, in 1988.[8]

In August 1994, Worldvision's Spelling Premiere Network was launched. The network's initial years shows were Robin's Hoods, Heaven Help Us,[10] and University Hospital, Heaven's mid-season replacement.[11]

The company's logo, as it appeared at the end of the programs it distributed, carried the following disclaimer: "Not affiliated with World Vision International, a religious and charitable organization." This was because, in the mid-1970s, the charity sued the syndicator for its use of the "Worldvision" name. They eventually settled, with Worldvision allowed to continue using the name for the syndication company, provided that a disclaimer was included to distance themselves from World Vision International, which has been implemented since 1974.


  1. The Billboard, April 3, 1954, p. 10.
  2. 1 2 "ABC Film Synd. Plans for Big 1956". Billboard. January 28, 1956. p. 8. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  3. Ward, Richard Lewis (1995). A History of the Hal Roach Studios. SIU Press. p. 148. ISBN 0809388065. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  4. "Week's Headliners" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 16, 1959. p. 10. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 "Kevin O'Sullivan". Variety. January 13, 2006. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  6. "Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (1983)". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  7. Barbera, Joseph (1994). My Life in "Toons": From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing. pp. 191–192. ISBN 1-57036-042-1.
  8. 1 2 Adelson, Andrea (July 26, 1988). "Spelling and Worldvision in Merger Pact". New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  9. Interview with Aaron Spelling. Archive of American Television (November 18/24, 1999).
  10. Kleid, Beth (August 28, 1994). "Focus : Spelling Check : Mega-Producer's Latest Venture is His Own 'Network'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  11. Kleid, Beth (November 21, 1994). "Morning Briefing: Television: Coming Attractions". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
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